How much more hurt must Australians endure before state governments admit that the lockdown policy doesn’t work?
Australian citizens at home and abroad are suffering the misery of separation from loved ones and are subject to the intransigence of bureaucrats.
The first lockdowns were imposed when the damage the virus could cause was barely known. Credible forecasts at the time suggested up to 150,000 Australians could die.
Since then, the mortality rate has declined significantly. Meanwhile, the death rate for businesses is increasing and large sectors of the economy are on life support, as James Mathias writes.
The sum total of human misery caused by our attempts to control COVID-19 far outweighs the quantity of misery avoided.
That imbalance will grow exponentially while the restrictive measures remain in place.
Most serious loss of all, however, is the loss of private liberties that have been safeguarded in the English-speaking world since the 17th Century.
The State of Emergency and State of Disaster provisions in Victoria place one man above the law. He can authorise police to enter private property without a warrant, to seize and destroy property and order people to leave their own homes.
That man is not the Premier. It is the Chief Medical Officer, who also has the power to suspend acts of Parliament if he chooses.
The police appear to be going about the tasks assigned to them with enthusiasm, judging by the phone camera videos appearing on social media.
This week we saw a man being harassed by police on his own front lawn for daring to cross the threshold of his property to put the bin out.
We saw a woman wrestled to the ground for not wearing a face mask. And a 28-year old WA woman with no previous criminal record who had spent a month in Victoria was sentenced to six-months jail for returning to her home state hidden in the back of a truck.
The Menzies Research Centre supports all reasonable measures to preserve public health. These measures, however, are far from reasonable, and the harm they are causing is enormous.
We stand by the recommendations of the Ergas report we published in early July.All extra-parliamentary decisions should be rescinded, and normal democratic process should resume.
Border restrictions must end unless there is compelling justification. Normal business must resume.
On our Watercooler webcast this week, we were warned of the consequences of the lurch towards authoritarian by Daniel Hannan, the former British Conservative Euro MP.
Hannan made the case eloquently and succinctly. Powers seized under the pretext of danger are not easily restored.
And please make a note in your diary to watch next Wednesday’s Watercooler at 7.30pm on our YouTube channel with special guest Matt Ridley, author of The Rational Optimist. I’ll be talking to him about his latest book How Innovation Works.
In closing, allow me to express my thanks again to our donors and subscribers who are supporting us financially at this difficult time. In the 26-year history of the MRC, there has never been a more important moment to defend the rights of free people and the freedom of our economy.